Evidence of meeting #114 for Justice and Human Rights in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was clause.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Carole Morency  Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice
Matthew Taylor  Acting Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice
Shannon Davis-Ermuth  Legal Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

I request a recorded vote.

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Ms. Khalid, go ahead.

October 29th, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Thank you, Chair.

I thank the member for raising an issue about which I know we are all concerned. My understanding is that there are a number of other offences with respect to kidnapping, and having read the actual text of the offence itself, I find there are other offences that would elevate the nature of the criminal charges that are laid by our law enforcement to be very different from what is actually encoded in the code.

Quite honestly, Mr. Chair, when we talk about the abduction of minors, about gender-based violence, and about vulnerable communities, last week I was quite disgusted, I have to say, when I spoke about gender-based violence and I watched the member opposite roll his eyes at gender-based violence issues.

I believe that hybridization will, in fact, address the issues of our court system, and that it will address the issue of delays. I believe that our government has a very contextual, fulsome approach with respect to issues of gender-based violence, and I'm completely opposed to this amendment.

Thank you.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Chair, first of all, I take great exception to the insinuation by the member—

1:10 p.m.

An hon. member

—but you did.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

—that I somehow don't take gender-based violence seriously. I have no recollection of what she alleges I did, and to the degree that I did it, I can assure the committee and the honourable member that it had nothing to do with what she was referencing in respect of gender-based violence. I think the member should apologize.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

I think everyone on this committee respects one another. We all respect one another. The member has clarified that this was not his intention if indeed he did it, and that probably satisfies everybody. Okay?

Let's move to a vote on CPC-56.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 108 agreed to)

(On clause 109)

Next we move to clause 109 and CPC-57.

Mr. Cooper, go ahead.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This is again another amendment to water down offences related to kidnapping. After watering down sentencing for kidnapping someone under the age of 16, now this government has seen fit to water down sentencing for abduction of a person under the age of 14.

I don't think anything more needs to be said. Maybe Mr. MacKenzie wants to comment on this in terms of the impact of this very serious offence in his community of Woodstock.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

The recent incident in Woodstock illustrates the seriousness of that, and I would suggest to you that the Tori Stafford situation is very serious and we have to be careful.

The chair mentioned the difference between the under 16 and over 16 in the other part, and there is a bit of a message, maybe a big bit of a message, when we change the rules with respect to sentencing. Certainly this is one that would bear retaining the current status.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thank you.

Mr. Fraser, go ahead.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Colin Fraser Liberal West Nova, NS

I take Mr. MacKenzie's points very well, and obviously we can all think of cases that are egregious and have been completed in the most heinous ways, and that should face the full force of the law. However, these offences can be completed in a range of ways. We can agree that there are some that are far more serious than others in the ways they have been completed. I would note, just referencing a point that was raised earlier with respect to the availability of a fine, that, for example, our code currently has available for this offence a fine alone. I'm not saying or suggesting that it would be appropriate in almost any circumstance, but it is available because we do trust our courts to take into account the circumstances of the offence and the circumstances of the offender when exercising the duty to impose fit and proper sentences in accordance with our laws and the sentencing principles.

When we talk about certain examples, sometimes the rhetoric can become focused on the most egregious circumstances and the most egregious offences, but those are not the only ways that these sorts of offences can be completed. It is important to bear that in mind.

Thank you.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Mr. Cooper, go ahead.

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Well, Mr. Chair, let's again reiterate what we're talking about here when Mr. Fraser talks about appropriate discretion and circumstances of each case. We're talking about kidnapping a minor under the age of 14, and this government is saying it may not be so serious, so we can now just take away discretion from a judge to fashion an appropriate sentence and leave it to the Crown.

I think Mr. MacKenzie's point is well taken and it's reflective of the way this government does business, as we saw quite disturbingly with respect to Terri-Lynne McClintic, Tori Stafford's killer, who did kidnap a little girl and is now no longer behind bars but in a healing lodge, and this government has shrugged its shoulders. They've defended that policy in respect of a child killer, and here we are now, a few weeks after that, voting on an amendment to water down sentences for the abduction of a minor, a child under the age of 14. It's despicable.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

For clarity, she is in a medium-security facility. For clarity, this offence can also talk about a non-custodial parent who takes a child under that age. There are various circumstances under which somebody could be charged with this offence, and I think again the position is clear.

Everybody has had their chance to speak.

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

I would ask for a recorded vote.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

It will be a recorded vote on CPC-57, please, Mr. Clerk.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 109 agreed to)

On clause 110, amendment X-72 is no longer applicable based on the decision related to summaries, so there is no amendment to clause 110.

(Clause 110 agreed to on division)

(On clause 111)

We'll move to clause 111 and CPC-58.

Mr. Cooper, go ahead.

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Chair.

This is another amendment dealing with another section of the Criminal Code being watered down under Bill C-75. This amendment relates to the offence of material benefit from sexual services. Bill C-75 would water down that sentence. This amendment would maintain it as a strictly indictable offence.

I would ask for a recorded vote.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Is there any further discussion?

Mr. Clerk, can we have a recorded vote, please?

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clauses 111 to 113 inclusive agreed to on division)

(On clause 114)

We'll go now to CPC-59.

Mr. Cooper, go ahead.

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This is again an amendment related to the reclassification of offences under Bill C-75 from strictly indictable to hybrid offences. This relates to subsection 291(1) of the Criminal Code, which is the offence of bigamy. This amendment would maintain that offence as a strictly indictable offence.

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Is there any discussion on CPC-59?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 114 agreed to)

(On clause 115)

We are on CPC-60.

Mr. Cooper, go ahead.

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This is an amendment again dealing with the reclassification of offences. Bill C-75 would water down the offence of procuring a forced marriage from what is currently treated as an indictable offence to potentially a summary conviction offence if the prosecutor elected to do so.

I would ask for a recorded vote.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Is there any discussion?

Mr. Clerk, can we please have a recorded vote?

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 115 agreed to)

(On clause 116)

We go now to CPC-61.

Mr. Cooper, go ahead.

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

This is another amendment dealing with reclassification. This would amend Bill C-75 so that the offence of polygamy would not be watered down to a hybrid offence but would remain a strictly indictable offence.

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Is there any further discussion?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 116 agreed to)

(On clause 117)

Our next amendment is CPC-62.

Mr. Cooper, go ahead.

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Chair, this amendment deals with another watering down under Bill C-75. The offence that the government is proposing to water down here is forced marriage. We think forced marriage is a very serious offence and should be treated as a strictly indictable offence.

I'd ask for a recorded vote.